Was Todd McShay drunk on The Rich Eisen Show on Monday?
2/27/2023: NFL news on the Geno Smith market, Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, and will the Seahawks sell to Bezos?
Football fans have probably come up with countless reasons in the past to think that ESPN’s Todd McShay “must be drunk.” Whether because he didn’t say what someone wanted to about a certain college football player or an NFL team, draft analysts are often scrutinized unfairly by fans because of the “no win” proposition of trying to be fair and honest in a forum where everybody and every franchise has innumerable die-hard fans who only want to hear good things about their favorites.
But McShay has also literally been accused of being drunk on air before, leading to a leave of absence in 2021 to “focus on (his) health” three days after viewers were concerned by his appearance in a Miami-Alabama game, which was a year after he was removed from a broadcast for a Wisconsin-Northwestern game after he was on-air slurring his words.
He returned about six weeks later and as far as I can tell, speculation as to what caused his absence has remained speculative diagnoses by…folks on the Internet.
We are now two months away from the 2023 NFL Draft and the Seattle Seahawks have two picks in the top-20, making them one of the stars of this year’s show on ESPN, so I think it’s a fair question to ask here if one of the network’s top-two analysts for draft coverage is circling back to those stories from 2020 and 2021.
I watched McShay’s call-in appearance on The Rich Eisen Show on Monday evening and it was difficult to get through the entire 12 minutes without thinking of those past stories about his health. I wondered if it was just me, but most of the YouTube comments were about McShay’s coherence.
Of course, YouTube commenters are “folks on the Internet” who have zero clue as to the actual cause of McShay’s disjointed speaking patterns over the phone on Monday. But without any explanations for his recent absences from ESPN broadcasts in 2020 and 2021, nobody is left to give any reason other than speculation based on their own life experiences.
Many of us have been drunk before, and most of us have been around drunk people before, connecting McShay’s slurred speech to “being drunk” is the easiest explanation for most to come up with; it’s much more common for people to have experience with alcohol and substances than it is to have been afflicted with anything else that could lead to this, as far as I know.
And I bring it up because I was really taken aback at how different McShay sounds in this interview with Eisen than he did two weeks ago on ESPN.
Generally speaking, NFL fans are unduly critical of draft analysts because it’s so hard to do that job without pissing off people, really no matter what you say. It’s not just criticism: McShay can’t even say that he loves Bryce Young without pissing off fans of the Bears or draftniks who prefer quarterbacks who is taller and heavier.
So I tend to sympathize with people who get inordinate amounts of hate…and I tend to spread a little more hate to those who are inordinately beloved. I’m just trying to balance everything out a little bit. At first, I thought this could be a lighthearted article about a famous draft analyst who had a few before he talked to Eisen (which isn’t illegal or even immoral and probably not even unprofessional—it’s not his ESPN show…and it’s the Roku Channel) but remembering his past instances and even a leave of absence for health reasons, it made it a little more serious for me.
But whatever the case for McShay on Monday, I have to imagine that Rich Eisen was wondering to himself—unless McShay gave him a heads up off-air—”What is going on here?”
I’m not alleging anything. I’m just a folk in the Internet.
Between now and the April 27 draft, I want to do more bonus articles at the end of some days that wrap-up draft, free agency, and Seahawks-related news that may have dropped after the daily Seaside Joe article. Join Regular Joes at only $5/month to keep reading as I’ll cover the Carson Wentz and Derek Carr news, why Washington is more likely to keep a free agent off of Seattle’s radar, a former Seahawks defensive coordinator staying on the job, and whether Jody Allen still plans to sell.
Plus, why I think this week is proving that Geno Smith won’t sign a contract before free agency.